Nora Slania (she/they/any)

IMPRS Doctoral Student
Max Planck Research Group Schuppli

Main Focus

My research interests revolve around primate (including human) cognition and evolutionary processes behind cognitive functions. I'm especially interested in comparative work, at group and species level.

With my project I aim to better understand mechanisms of learning in wild chimpanzees and by extension the role of learning for hominid evolution. While chimpanzees demonstrate diverse innovation repertoires, complexity and diversity of human innovativeness are unparalleled in the animal kingdom. Both socially mediated learning and independent exploration must have played central parts in developing and maintaining high levels of innovation. Complex behavioural repertoires of chimpanzees indicate the use of various learning strategies and their ontogeny has been connected to social information use and independent practice. With this project, I investigate how chimpanzees employ different learning strategies in their everyday live and how learning develops with age.

Aside from learning abilities, high levels of innovativess speak for an increased motivation to learn. By assessing exploration tendencies and neophobic proclivities, I aim to relate curiosity as a motivational drive to learning and in particular to innovative problem-solving in wild chimpanzees.

My research is conducted at the Budongo Conservation Field Station and the Bugoma Primate Conservation Project.


Curriculum Vitae

EDUCATION:

  • 2020-2021: Master's project with the Technological Primate research group at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology on behavioural and archaeological signatures of nut-cracking across primates 
  • 2018-2021: MSc in early childhood research (University of Leipzig)
  • 2013-2017: BA in cognitive linguistics and philosophy (University of Heidelberg)
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